Review: Mordor – The Depths of Dejenol (Windows 16-Bit)

By Drew Wilson

Mordor – The Depths of Dejenol, is a first person rogue-like RPG game. While it was released a long time ago, we take a look to see if this game is worth going back and playing through again.

The game was released in 1995.

The game starts off with allowing the player to create a character. The player can create up to four characters and form a four character party. These players are password protected, though these passwords really seem kind of unnecessary these days.

Each character has to be part of at least one guild, but the player can join more than one guild as the game progresses and the player has built up enough stats to meet the minimum requirement of joining the next guild. The basic guild is the Nomad guild where players can quickly build up experience. It’s not recommended that the players stay in that guild for long though as much more valuable skills can be attained through other guilds like the warrior, healer and thief guilds.

The dungeon itself has 15 levels. Exploring further and further away from the stairs will generally mean encountering tougher opponents, but more experience points. Each level features tougher and tougher opponents as well, so you’ll probably spend more time just grinding just to level up enough to survive more difficult monster encounters.

Gaining enough experience will not necessarily allow the player to level up directly. Instead, the player has to return to the village and return to the guild to level up. If your character gains enough experience to level up, you’ll get a message noting this fact and your experience number in the corner of the screen will change to the amount of experience the character can gain before pinning. If the player is “pinned”, the character can no longer gain experience and must level up before being able to progress further. If your character is pinned, the character has enough experience for two levels minus one point. So, if you level up while pinned, you need one more experience point to level up again. This pretty much means that character has to hit something or open a trapped chest.

The dungeon has numerous features including foggy areas, rotator squares, face a certain direction square, water, quicksand, chutes and numerous other features that will keep the game interesting. There are also numerous bosses the player can go up against, though non of the bosses are technically necessary to defeat as the player makes their way through the game.

The village features numerous things including the guild halls (required to level up) a general store, a confinement (so you can enslave monsters found in the dungeon and use them against other monsters), a morgue (required if your entire party dies in the dungeon or if you lack the ability to raise your character), and a seer (generally useless save for finding a general level where a monster is located).

Generally speaking, I found this game to be quite fun even though it’s complexity can set you back a few months worth of game play. You generally always have a sense of progression throughout and there’s always something new to find even as you make it to the final dungeon level.

The user interface is interesting in that you can customize it to whatever preference you have. Everything is basically a series of interactive windows. You can change the size of each window to suit whatever resolution need you have. The interface is somewhat complex, but I found that you can get used to it after a while. Buffers are a very good feature and I recommend using them.

This game isn’t without faults though. There are numerous spots where you’ll find yourself clearing whole levels and repeating the process just so you can have a shot at surviving the next level. The fighting guilds, you’ll find, are not powerful enough when you get to the final parts of the game. If you encounter some gargantuans, the fighting characters never stand a chance and it’s strictly up to the spellcasting guilds to defeat the monsters fast enough so they don’t wipe out your whole party with their hard hits. That’s not to say the fighting guilds are useless as they are able to win initiative in combat, but when you get to the last levels, that’s about all they are good for. Otherwise, fighting guilds are nice to have as you go through the game.

Another flaw is that there isn’t enough age reduction items. When you get to the end of the game, you’ll be going up against age raising monsters that can easily push your characters age up to force them into a sort of early retirement. Finding items like Dragon’s Blood is an extremely tall order because the odds of finding them are way too low. In that respect, some monsters in the last parts of the dungeon are not worth fighting at all.

Another flaw I found with this game is that the gold drops are kind of bad after a while. You’ll gain a few hundred to a thousand or so gold per fight. That sounds great until you realize that some items cost upwards of a hundred thousand gold to maybe even tens of million in gold. Leveling up characters can also take a toll on the cash reserves as well. So, the only way to really afford everything towards the end of the game is to hope you find a rare item and sell it at the store for a few million gold.

A more minor flaw is that there is no way to “explore” ever square. You have detect rock which is good for getting most of the dungeon explored, but some squares can only be safely revealed through a glitch in the game.

The graphics go both ways. On the one hand, they are nicely done with the art of the monsters and decently put together with respect to the images of the city. On the other hand, the dungeon itself gets boring and repetitive after a while as the walls , ceiling and ground never change. Things like pit’s and teleporters only appear in the auto-map and not in the dungeon view itself which I though was a bit annoying.

The music seems OK at first, but after playing the game for a few days, you’ll want to turn off the music. The MIDI files are decently put together, but they get annoying after a while. Luckily, there’s an option to turn the music off. The sound effects are not bad, but killing bugs after a while get annoying.

Overall, it’s still a good game to check out. I recommend it if you are into RPG games already. If you’re just a casual gamer, you have to exercise a little patience with this game. Generally speaking, the game has an ability to grow on you after a while. Even though it takes a long time to play through a good portion of this game, it tends to be an enjoyable experience. There is really hardly any replay value for me only because it’s so tough to actually make it to the end in the first place. So replay value in this game is based on whether or not I wanted to go back to the game and play it some more.

Overall
Made it to the basement level and defeat the Lamurian Princess, a dragon queen and a Reaper of Death, but never got to defeating the final boss.

General gameplay: 20/25
Replay value: 8/10
Graphics: 5/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 72%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85



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